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Jakarta Post

INSIGHT: Peatlands matter for Indonesia, and the world

  • Daniel Murdiyarso
    Daniel Murdiyarso

    Principal scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)

PREMIUM
Bogor   /   Fri, May 19, 2017   /  08:21 am
INSIGHT: Peatlands matter for Indonesia, and the world Haze emerges from fires ravaging peatland in Meranti Islands regency in Riau province. The government aims to restore 2.49 hectares of destroyed peatland. (Courtesy of Emergency Task Force for Forest Fire/Riau)

When accompanying a group of reporters on a visit to Tanjung Leban village in Bengkalis, Riau, this week I saw some local farmers trying out new crops after losing their oil palm plots to fire. 

I remember the forest fires that raged in Indonesia in 2015, especially in Kalimantan. The disaster was the top story for months back then. In the following dry season, in 2016, there was almost no news on peat fires and haze pollution. Was this because the government and communities succeeded in preventing fires? Or was it simply because 2016 was a wetter year and there were fewer fires?

As a scientist, peatlands matter to me because of their unique biological and conservation values. The scientific community is now documenting how immensely valuable peatlands are in storing carbon — and therefore in mitigating climate change.

For generatio...

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.